California School for the Blind


Assessment Program

The CSB Assessment Program is a statewide resource of professionals who have specific expertise in the education of children and young adults who are blind, visually impaired, or deaf-blind.  Our staff includes teachers of students with visual impairment (TVIs), orientation & mobility specialists (O&Ms), a psychologist, and a speech & language pathologist. Our work is enhanced by our close ties with the Assistive Technology Center and the Low Vision Clinic.

We provide the following services to California's school districts:

  • Student assessments

  • Parent and staff consultation

  • Professional development

Eligibility for Service

Direct Service:

  • California students age five through twenty-one who have a visual impairment which, even with corrections, adversely affects educational performance.

  • The presence of unresolved educational concerns following thorough district assessment.

Indirect Service:

  • Parents and professionals who have responsibility for these students.

Our Focus

Areas of the Core and Expanded Core Curriculum form the basis for our service.  This may include:  functional vision, speech & language, cognitive development, academic achievement, learning/reading media, technology needs, orientation & mobility, recreation & leisure skills, daily living skills, social-emotional functioning, and self-determination & advocacy.

Two Models for Direct Service:

We have two primary models for direst service. Specific referral concerns and a careful consideration of the characteristics and needs of the individual student help determine which model is appropriate.

Center Assessment

Referral questions are addressed over two to fve days through assessment. observations, and parent interviews. Along with a thorough review of records, consultaion with the student's home team, and ongoing interviews and consultation with parents, staff members of the Assessment Program work collaboratively to assess each area of the child's educational needs. Results and recommendations are discussed in a conference with parents and district professionals, followed by a written report.

Assessment services are not related to student enrollment at CSB; however, parents and caregivers may be offered a tour of the school to observe educational activities and assistive technology in action. If appropriate, assessment may be accompanied by low vision or special vision assessment offered in partnership with the University of California, Berkeley School of Optometry.

Assessment students and their families are offered use of a small apartment on the CSB campus in Fremont, California. The cost of assessment, food, and lodging for the student and family is covered by the California School for the Blind at no expense to the district. Transportation to and from CSB is usually provided by the local district.

This format is appropriate for students who can respond to formal testing on the CSB campus.

Field Observation/Consultation

Referral questions are addressed during one to two days of direct observation, a parent meeting in the home setting, and discussion with educational team members. Observations and recommendations are discussed in a conference with parents and district professionals, usually followed by a written report.

This format is appropriate for students whose strengths and needs are best demonstrated through interactions within their familiar home and school environments

Referral Process

Assessment referrals are accepted as a joint partnership between a district and the parent/guardian; one complements the other. We require that a district level administrator, or designee, and parent(s), significant teachers, and service providers be present when the assessment staff report on their findings.

The following materials are required:

  • Completed Local Education Agency (LEA) Application Packet

  • Completed Parent Application Packet

  • Current (and most recent triennial, if different) IEP

  • Relevant education Reports (TVI, O&M, Psychology, Speech/Language)

  • Relevant Medical Reports (Ophthalmology and Optometry, as appropriate)

  • Permissions to conduct assessment and release/exchange information

Indirect Service:

Parent and Staff Consultation

Our staff is available for phone or email consultation to respond to questions or concerns about the educational needs of children with visual impairment.

Professional Development

Assessment Program staff members are available to provide group workshops and trainings to support district efforts to provide the best possible education for students who are blind, visually impaired, or deaf-blind. Program administrators, TVIs, O&M specialists, psychologists, speech/language pathologists, special day class teachers, resource specialists, para-educators, and/or parents may be the target audience. Specific content and length (typically 90-180 minutes) can be developed in collaboration with local staff according to needs. These can be offered at CSB or alternative sites; there is no cost to the local site.


We invite you to phone or email us to discuss your specific needs: 

Stephanie Herlich, Coordinator:; (510) 936-5524



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